Simple change aims at keeping law enforcement officers safer on I-90

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Could a simple turnaround on Interstate 90 on Cleveland's west side make the road safer?

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol believe so.

A turnaround has been built for safety forces not far from where two law enforcement officers were killed in recent months.

Highway Patrol Officer Kenny Velez was killed while running radar.

He had pulled off to the berm on the high-speed lane.

Cleveland Officer David Fahey was killed while assisting at another fatal accident just months later.

The accidents got ODOT and the Highway Patrol thinking.

There was no place to turn around on the interstate until Lorain County and that was a problem according to ODOT's Amanda McFarland.

"That area of I-90 West of Warren Road was looked at after the instances where the officers were struck and killed as an area where we maybe we do need to look at turnarounds," McFarland said.

The look turned to quick action as just under $100,000 was earmarked for the project and it was completed quickly, pleasing Highway Patrol Lt. Rob Gable.

"We're looking forward to having just a little better buffer between traffic and where troopers are sitting," Gable said.

Now as opposed to being on the side of the road close to traffic a trooper can be between east and westbound lanes.

It allows good sight lines to pull out.

There is another consideration according to Gable, trouble on the other side of the highway from where officers are traveling.

"It just allows us to get to traffic a little easier if we need to get to the other side of the roadway. There's not a whole lot of places where troopers and first responders can get to the other side," Gable said.

ODOT and the patrol are researching other areas where there could be room for additional turnarounds.

But remember they are for safety force use only. To steal a phrase from the Highway Patrol and change it a bit, if you pick it to turn around, you'll get a ticket.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.